Were the Protests in Vain? - A Quantitative Data Analysis of the Relationship Between Black and White Populations in the United States
Death by the hands of police and their use of lethal force has been a consistent headline in news across the country. With the Black Lives Matter movement and the cry for justice being heard both online and through protests, this exploratory research study seeks to find a relationship between race and the criminal justice system in the states where the largest Black Lives Matter (BLM) names arose during the summer of 2020. These states include Minnesota, Kentucky, Colorado, Georgia, Ohio, and Wisconsin. This research asks, “Are there racial disparities in incarceration rates and conviction rates in the states where the victims of police force—whose names were later echoed in Black Lives Matter protests—were killed?” Utilizing a dataset from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, state-level incarcerated information, and Census data, this quantitative analysis is conducted through a series of independent samples t-tests and chi-square analysis. Based on the p-value, this research seeks to discover if there is a significant relationship between race and incarceration rates. With a highly significant relationship found in each state (a p-value of less than 0.001), my research concludes that there is a 99.9% chance that the relationship between race and incarceration is not due to chance. Therefore, this study suggests there are external factors for high incarceration rates for Black people. While this research cannot determine exact causes, existing literature suggests that possible explanations could be related to implicit bias, militarization of police, and/or overuse of lethal force.
Anya M. Galli Robertson, Laura M. Leming
Primary Advisor's Department
Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
"Were the Protests in Vain? - A Quantitative Data Analysis of the Relationship Between Black and White Populations in the United States" (2021). Stander Symposium Projects. 2245.